The Internet has been rife with a bevy of reports recently concerning new smartphone hardware (codename "Pink") from Microsoft. In response to the reports, Microsoft said in plain English: "Microsoft is not going into the phone hardware business."The reports swirling across the Interwebs yesterday suggested that Microsoft was working in a top-secret project with Verizon Wireless. The device, said to be an iPhone killer of sorts.
Yesterday, my colleague Marin Perez, reported, "Microsoft's project 'Pink' is working on a mobile device that will give Apple a run for its money. It will likely feature Windows Mobile with some Zune software elements for stronger multimedia capabilities, as well as the upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile to give it a counter to the App Store."
Unfortunately, the rumors conflict with long-stated Microsoft policy regarding smartphone hardware. Microsoft is in the business of making and licensing Windows Mobile. It is not interested in making hardware of its own, which is exactly what the reports were suggesting.
Microsoft spokesperson John Starkweather said, "Microsoft is not building a Zune-specific phone." Microsoft (a.k.a., Steve Ballmer), has indicated that Microsoft is considering building Zune-like media capabilities into Windows Mobile (specifically, as a replacement for or in addition to Windows Media Player Mobile), but nothing more than that. Some blogs believe that this is what "Pink" was a reference to. Engadget reports, "We have every reason to believe that Microsoft would want to be building Zune-esque features into Windows Mobile ... so we're still pretty confident that Pink (or another project) will ultimately marry portions of the technology and branding."
Starkweather went on to say, "We're deepening our relationships with our hardware partners in order to create even better performing phones that are competitively priced, have the features people want, that are easy-to-use and just downright lust-worthy. The upcoming availability of Windows Mobile 6.5 software will enable our OEM partners to build even more compelling devices in a wide-range of form factors for customers around the world."
That pretty much echoes what Microsoft has said all along.
Bottom line? No Zunephone. No Pink phone.